Classic car insurer identifies most financially viable restorations

Hagerty regularly monitors the classic car market and its latest report asks “Which classic cars are the most financially viable to restore?”

In almost no other sphere of automotive appreciation will you find an original Land Rover Discovery and a Lancia Beta 1600 S2 HPE estate grouped together. But according to latest research these vehicles have the largest percentage value difference between ‘fair’ and ‘concours’ examples.

Obviously in pure cash terms the Ferrari 250 GTO still wins with an apparent value difference of £13.12million between a fair example and the best available. Or the McLaren F1 with a £5.74million gap from best to worst.

But the Land Rover Discovery 1 offers a value gap of £13,400, representing 91% of its Concours price tag. So you could potentially buy a Discovery for £1,500 and sell it for £15,000 after a few months rebuilding it.

However, at the other end of the scale a Ford Focus 1.6i Zetec will only offer you a return of £1,400 between ‘fair’ and ‘concours’. Or maybe the Austin Allegro 1750 4-door saloon is something you fancy? You’ll only manage a meagre £2,150 in return for the all the laughs you’ll get from your mates.

The smallest percentage difference between fair and concours values was just 6% (£410,000) for the Ferrari 250 GT SWB. The Ferrari 365 California Spider manages 10% (£328,000) and the Lamborghini 3500GT 11% (£70,500).

To find the most financially worthwhile restoration cases, Hagerty looked at a combination of the two factors to see which cars presented a significant value difference, which also equated to a large percentage of the car’s top value. The Porsche 356 lead (Pre-A cabriolet top with £391,000 or 72% and the 356 ‘A’ coupe third with £172,500 or 70%). Between the Porsches was the Bentley S2 Continental drophead by Park Ward, with £217,600 or 71%, with the Facel Vega HK500 and the Mercedes-Benz W100 saloon making up the top five.

At the bottom, the TVR Cerbera came out last with £13,700 (36%) followed by the Porsche 924 Carrera GT on £27,800 or 36% and the Maserati Ghibli (£59,800 or 30%), with the Ferrari 330 and the Austin Healey 100-4 M making up the bottom five.

John Mayhead, Hagerty’s head of valuation, said “The best reason to restore must be to return a car to a level of mechanical and aesthetic quality that delivers an enjoyable and safe driving experience to the owner. Above everything else, if the owner thinks it is worth it, then it probably is. Classics are built to be enjoyed and at Hagerty we want owners to drive their cars as often as possible. Buy a car you like first and foremost, and should it deliver a healthy return financially treat it as the icing on the cake”

Most and least restorable classic cars – by percentage of concours value

Top carsFair conditionConcours condition% difference
Land Rover Discovery S1 (1989 – 1998)£1,400£14,80091%
Lancia Beta 1600 S2 HPE Estate (1976-1984)£1,300£11,50089%
Lancia 2000 Berlina (1971 – 1975)£1,200 £9,80088%
Bottom cars
Ferrari 250 GT SWB (Steel) (1960 – 62) £6,232,000£6,642,0006%
Ferrari 365 California Spider (1966-67) £3,034,000£3,362,00010%
Lamborghini 350 GT (1964-66) £548,600£619,10011%

The full story can be read on the Hagerty UK website

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